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Milan 0, Torino 0: Montella’s Last Stand


Some people go out in a ball of flames, others go out in 90 minutes of mind-numbing frustration. Montella did not do the first. But after over 51,000 fans watched this side “dominate,” yet draw to Torino, Montella was finally sacked. The irony of Montella being sacked after facing Mihajlovic is not lost on me, especially with the direct juxtaposition of quality and spending on players, but the result being level. And we can’t say we didn’t see this coming, either, especially since Montella had so many problems just even matching up his clothes.  Still, with the lack of action on management’s part to date, it was nevertheless a bit of a surprise to find out that this was Montella’s last stand.

Unemployed

It’s not as if there weren’t plenty of chances for goals, at least from Milan. 17 shots and six on target, Sirigu showed why he is much more consistent than his predecessor, gaffe king Joe Hart. And certainly, the Milan players were trying. But when your manager keeps trying on new outfits in the same, old tired dressing room, it’s difficult to be fashionable. Or for the non-fashion savvy, when your manager keeps changing the lineups in the same, old, tired formation that never worked in the first place, there’s only so much that you can do to produce a result. With no goals and so many missed chances, the real highlight of the match was Belotti giving his jersey and a kiss to Bonucci’s Torino-loving son, the only winner in this game.  

Kalinic was actually whistled off the pitch when finally subbed off for Cutrone. Honestly, I don’t agree with the fans’ choice to single him out. Not that I’m a fan of his, but Silva was also unsuccessful in scoring in this match. And Cutrone. And everyone else that took shots on goal.  But Kalinic took some of the heat for Montella’s inexplicable choice to play him if he was even remotely healthy instead of Silva or Cutrone. And certainly Kalinic had more than his fair share of shots that really should have been goals. But if you wanted to whistle someone, my choice would have been Montella. So a bit of misplaced anger. But at least, we finally have a real captain, who made it a point to show support for Kalinic as he went off, despite the whistles. That is the sign of both teamwork and leadership.

A picture is worth a thousand words

The crowd also whistled Niang when he was subbed off moments before. Niang was kept in Rodriguez’s pocket the whole match, Mihajlovic’s subbing of him was a merciful one. While all of the individual Milan players seemed to give their best, it just wasn’t enough as a collective. But when the opposing keeper is the man of the match, it’s really all about missed chances and regrets. Keep in mind that if Milan had six shots on target and no goals, that means Sirigu had a very commendable six saves in this match.

But it’s not fair to say that Sirigu’s great game was Montella’s undoing. That is all on him. The case against Montella was formed long before this match. Certainly, there were many, many, much more abysmal performances than this one. And his increasingly smug and out of touch press conferences didn’t help, either. Even after this match, he said he felt confident, which means he was likely the most surprised to be unemployed today. Some coaches regret not getting to ‘eat their panettone’ (make it to Christmas without being sacked,) but I think Montella will really just miss all of those free Diesel clothes. Because you know how much he loves his trousers and socks. Maybe now he’ll have enough time to learn how to actually match them up.

Regrets

With Montella now gone, Gattuso has been promoted from the Primavera and appointed to go forward. Which isn’t even a Montolivo lateral pass, it’s more of a Montella-inspired backpass to Donnarumma in traffic. Gattuso as a player had the tactical nuances of a bull in a china closet, and his coaching experiences have not been particularly successful, either. But no one can argue that he has grinta, and if he lines up anything but a 3-5-2, this team is poised to explode with success. Or implode even worse, it’s hard to say. The only thing that is certain is that we won’t have to watch a frustrating draw like this again with Montella on the sidelines.


This post inspired by the music of Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”


Our next match is
Serie A Week 15
Benevento vs. Milan
Sunday, December 3 • 12:30 CET (6:30am EST)

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